Girl Reading by Oliver Ray
A new study came out that says women read more than men. Well, this isn't really news to me; I just have to look at the rows and rows of romantic fiction at bookstores. Perhaps there's a biological reason for this: a gene that makes women less averse to picking up books. What did catch my attention about the study is that they classified readers into four categories: Page Turners, Slow Worms, Serial Shelvers, and Double Bookers.
Page Turners are the avid readers. These are the people who go through an average of two or three books a week. I was once a Page Turner myself, averaging 150 books a year. Good times. I was an indiscriminate reader in my early 20s; I read doorstops -- Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov (which I loved), Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (which I loathed), and Joyce's Ulysses (no strong feelings). I read pulp, too.
Slow Worms are people who take their time reading a particular book. They're the supposedly "serious" readers, going through a book for several months but eventually finishing it. I don't understand Slow Worms. If a book fails to get my attention in the first few pages, I drop it altogether and start a new one. I can't imagine reading Ian McEwan for more than a month. The suspense would kill me. I know people who would stop reading the last 10 or so pages of their novels because they had to do some other thing. Truly perplexing, that is.
I don't think that Serial Shelvers are readers in the true sense of the word. These are people who simply buy books, keep them in their shelves, and never open them. What's the point in this? Books aren't bought to serve as decor or to complement the color scheme of one's room. I've never met a Serial Shelver, which is a good thing since we probably wouldn't get along.
I'm a Double Booker. I usually have two books on my bedside table, and I can easily start a new book while still in the middle of another one. I know lots of Double Bookers. And I believe that people who frequent bookstores (like me), who usually receive books as gifts (like me), who make impulsive book purchases (like me) are Double Bookers.
Perhaps, what would turn everyone into Page Turners is that if the text were printed in a sloping manner, as Paolo Bizziocchi would have it. Bizziocchi was even kind enough to show us a diagram of how sloped text sections would make reading easier on the eyes. Bizziocchi (I just love saying that name aloud) even patented his idea: when you read a sloped text, each new line would be of the same height as the previous.